Facebook states that people are coming to its platform not only to connect with friends and family but also with products and brands. In fact, a survey suggested that nearly half of people come to Facebook to actively look for products, with a majority of them discovering new products in News Feed, Pages, and Groups.
Without providing any further details on the anonymous report, Facebook shared that it is focused on building native experiences that make easier for both: people to discover products on mobile and businesses to drive more sales.
On the same lines, the social network that has aggressively focused on pushing Facebook as a place for commerce like other social platforms, has launched a dedicated shopping feed so that people can find products outside their News Feeds, and an expansion to merchants of an immersive ad unit that will give people a fast-loading full-screen catalogue of items to buy.
Canvas: A new native way to browse from ads
Facebook says that often when people click on products from ads in their News Feed, the mobile websites they’re directed to often take a while to load and aren’t optimized, increasing the chance that people will drop off.
To simplify and smoothen the process, Facebook has been testing a new ad experience called Canvas that helps businesses drive any advertising objective, from brand building to driving sales. The ad that is already being tested allows people see a fast-loading, full-screen experience as soon as the user clicks on the ad. Users can browse through a variety of products, before going to the retailer’s website to purchase.
New shopping feature in Favorites
Additionally, Facebook’s data says that people discover new products across multiple areas on Facebook—News Feed, Pages, and Groups. So in the coming weeks, Facebook will test a single place for people to more easily discover, share and purchase products. Starting with a small set of small businesses in US, Facebook promises to make their products eligible to appear there. “Over time we’ll explore incorporating additional content into this experience, such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups.”
The hub or tab where Facebook plans to showcase all the shopping products is built over the Facebook’s Shop feature that rolled out recently to business Pages. Retailers participating in that program will be incorporated in the new shopping tab.
Both new features are intended to make shopping easier on Facebook and give businesses more effective ways to reach people in a buying mood.
However, what Facebook is hiding right now is that the Canvas ads look like normal sponsored posts in the News Feed, but when you tap it’s like an alternate version of a brand’s website but will load more quickly and be more interactive because the content is native to Facebook. The idea is very similar to Instant Article Format but as of now it is letting the traffic go to the retailer for the payments.
Right now Facebook is testing the format with Gatorade, accessories brand Michael Kors, online retailer Mr Porter and French retailer Carrefour. For now, the ads will only appear on Facebook’s iPhone and iPad apps.
Looking back to Facebook strategies that believe in a walled garden approach, going further the payments will also take place within the platform.